BULLET IN 17*
US ISSN 0040-6406
THOREAU 'S MODERNITY: A COMPUTERIZED PROSE ANALYSIS
BY Len Gougeon
It has occasionally been suggested that Thoreau
is one of the first "modern" prose stylists in
American literature. Certainly, by comparison to
contemporaries such as Emerson, Hawthorne, Alcottj
and others he is conspicuously different. Intrigued
by the possibility of testing the modernity of
Thoreau' s prose, I thought that it would be inter-
esting and amusing to run a representative sample
of his writing through a computerized "prose analy-
zer" which is designed to assess and improve the
efforts of the modern writer. The results, I felt,
could be very revealing.
For the as-yet uninitiated, a computer driven
prose analyzer is a software program designed to
evaluate individual writing samples with a view to
improving them. These programs have been available
for some time for use with main frame computers
(Writer's Workbench is probably the best known).
Recently there has been a proliferation of such
software designed for use with the personal comput-
er. One such program is Lancelot which is a copyvrit-
ten prose analysis package developed at Clarkson
University. It is this latter, combined with an
IBC PC, which I used for my Thoreau experiment.
For my analysis I selected chapter two of Walden,
"Where I Lived and What I Lived For" (in the Norton
Critical Edition). My reasons for choosing this
sample of Thoreau' s writing are simple. First of
all, it's short, about seventeen double-spaced
pages; secondly, it is a relatively self-contained
and complete unit; thirdly, it is, I feel, an ex-
cellent example of Thoreau' s writing at its best.
After typing the chapter into a file on my PC,
I proceeded to run the analysis, which consists of
three parts. The first program in the analysis is
called Index . This program analyzes a text for
readibility, that is, it determines how difficult
(or easy) a prose statement is to read. It generat-
es a Basic St-yle index (abbreviated as BS with no
intentional pun) by checking the text for sentence
and word length, for subordination, coordination
verb complexity, and negation. After performing
this analysis the program generates a "Basic Style
Rating." A higher number indicates a difficult
text. The program also provides a scale which allows
one to interpret the Basic Style Rating figure. For
example, a rating between 6 and 10 means that the
text is easily read," while a rating between 15 and
18 is judged "difficult," and 19 and above "calls
for revision." Thoreau' s BS rating was 13, which
places it in the "readable" category, which is good.
This program also generates a histogram showing the
length of all sentences in the sample so that the
writer can tell at a glance if his sentences are
monotonously long, or short, or medium, etc.
The Thoreau Soolety, Inc., is an infor-
mal gathering of students and admirers of
Henry David Thoreau. Frederiok Wagner,
president; Mary Anderson, treasurer; and
Walter Harding, secretary. Address communi-
oations to the secretary at State University
College, Geneseo, N.T. 14454, Dues, flO a
year; Friend, $15; Family, $25; and Life
Membership, $500. Dues should be sent to
the Thoreau Soiiety, 156 Belknap St., Con-
cord, Mass. 01742, where the society main-
tains The Thoreau Lyceum
Thoreau' s histogram showed a proper and desirable
blend of 3hort, long, and intermediate sentences.
Also, his chapter contains 208 sentences, the long-
est of which is 143 words, which the computer sug-
gests, is "probably too long." By the way, the
value iudgments which the computer program executes
are based generally on the grammatical theories of
Dr. Rudolph Flesh (author of How to Test Readibili-
ty) and are offered to the writer as suggestions
rather than absolutes.
Thoreau' s most frequently used word is "not"
(52 times), which probably reinforces his reputa-
tion as a nay-sayer. The other most frequently used
words are "we" (45), "which" (42), "my" (42), "if"
(42), "his" (37), "this" (33), "had" (33), "have"
(30), and "all"(30, which would seem to suggest a
tendency toward Anglo-Saxon brevity, The computer
also counted 831 words which "appear to be preposi-
tions," This gives Thoreau an average of three
prepositions per sentence, which the computer
suggests is "probably too many,"
The second analytic program is called Diction ,
This program checks for "empty words and phrases,
redundancies, cliches, and awkward constructions.'
When potential problem statements are located in
the text, this file will identify them and offer
suggestions for revision which the writer can act
on or ignore. Thus, the computer suggested that
Thoreau should delete the words "afltually," "com-
pletely," and "quite" to "intensify his meaning."
It also suggested dropping "rather," "really," and
"somewhat" because they are weak modifiers, As far
as Thoreau 's word choice is concerned, the computer
found very little empty or pretentious diction. It
did, however, suggest substituting "so" for "accord-
ingly," "pay" for "compensation," and "stop or
pause" for "cessation."
Regarding wordy phrases or redundancies, the pro-
gram suggested that Thoreau might substitute "doubt-
less" for "no doubt that," and also that he should
reconsider his frequent use of such phrases as,
"Kind of," "more or less," "as for," "began to"and
"I think" since they are often unnecessary. Addi-
tionally, the computer did note Thoreau' s repeti-
tions, "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity," and
simplify, simplify" and asked, "Are you sure you
want to do this?"
The last analysis file is called Verb . It is de-
signed to look at the writer's use of the various
forms of the verb "to be." It reports how frequent-
ly the verb is used, points out those individual in-
stances in the text, and also identifies its func-
tion as a helping verb. Thus, when Thoreau says, "I
would say to my fellows, once for all, as long as
possible live free and uncommitted," the program
draws up the statement and suggests, "you use the
helping verb "would." This word is frequently over-
used. Use compound verbs sparingly. Try to write
using simple present and simple past when possible"
As it turns out, Thoreau uses the word "would"
fairly frequently (fourteen times), which probably
reinforces the idea that Transcendentalists are
generally reforming idealists.
Lastly, the program identified 255 forms of the
verb "to be" in 208 sentences. The computer isolat-
ed each of these usages and politely suggested that
the writer should consider his use of the "to be"
verb and "revise if you are using unnecessary pass-
ives or unnecessarily complex verb forms. Try to
use active verbs" Indeed, in most instances
Thoreau 's usage is active. What could be more ac-
tive, for example, than.the statement, "To him
whose elastic vigorous thought keeps pace with the
sun, the day is a perpetual morning."
Overall, throughout the 38 pages of analysis
which Thoreau' s chapter generated, the bard's
prose held up well under computer scrutiny, which
would seem to testify to the fact that the style
is at least comparable to modern useage and stand-
ards as developed within this popular computer
program. When musing over the results of my experi-
ment I could not help but wonder what Thoreau
would have done with a program such as this and
the technology which operates it. My conclusion is
that he would probably appreciate the ingenuity in-
volved but moderate his enthusiasm with a recogni-
tion of the dangers of becoming the tools of our
LETTER FROM "A FAR-FLUNG MEMBER "
CEditor's note: This letter was recently receiv-
ed from a member of our society who is a resident
of a country behind the Iron Curtain. He has re-
quested that his name be withheld. 3
Dear Mr. Harding:
Your paper on different drummers which you read
at the 1984 Annual Meeting has moved me to write
you again. I do hope, you'll not be annoyed to
receive and read a letter that will be coming from
a far-flung country and from a far-flung member of
your /our!/ Society.
I reckon with a maximum probability, that I
will emulate Joseph Isill in dreaming in vain of
visiting Concord and Walden Pond - not even in my
seventies, - never participate in post luncheon
quizzes at our Annual Meetings, never take part in
a box-supper held at the Lyceum, never join a Sun-
rise Walk to Walden Pont to celebrate Thoreau' s
Birthday, never listen to a sermon at the First
Parish Church or ever stand at the top of Mount
Looking through my fifty years of life here in
Central Eastern Europe I confirm silently my des-
perate enterprises having been successfully avoid-
ed and my steps being adjusted to a music I have
never stopped hearing.
Even at this end of the world to miss out on des-
perate enterprises means opting out of pecuniary
values for good. Such makings selected on purpose
endorse with heavy practical reasons my perpetual
absence from Concord on one side. On the other
side the experience of not keeping pace with my
companions has been constantly spurring me to find
out whose drum do I hear. The rough road has lead
me to Thoreau. Under bitter experiences it came
to be true that in my surrounding a thoreauvian way
of life shall remain a queer and suspicious one.
In spite of such negative omens I am convinced,
that differences and departures I feel and observe
are superficialities. Essential features link the
thoreauvian and Central European facet of serious
and radical individualism incorporated in certain,
"Thoreau," by Nikita Yevgen' yevich Pokrovskiy, a
Soviet specialist in the history of 18th- and 19th-
century American philosophy, is a concise and very
readable description of Thoreau' s life and thought,
written for a mass audience in the Soviet Union.
Pokrovskiy begins by describing Thoreau' s life,
noting the events and people which influenced
Thoreau' s thinking. He then describes the American,
European, and Oriental cultural influences on
Thoreau, providing a Marxist-Leninist view of early
American history. The main part of the book examines
Thoreau' s philosophy. Thoreau' s symbolic world
vision and the concept of rebirth are discussed.
Pokrovskiy discusses Thoreau' s views on nature and
society , particularly business and wealth, very
thoroughly. The author also explores an area he
considers too-little studied: Thoreau's relation-
ship with John Brown.
Noting that Leo Tolstoy referred to "Walden"
daily, the author briefly describes Tolstoy's
attitude toward Thoreau. Tolstoy was instrumental
in publishing the first Russian translation of
Thoreau's works. Pokrovskiy suggests that the
Tolstoy Archives and the Tolstoy Library at Yasnaya
Polyana would be fruitful places to carry out much-
needed scholarship on this subject.
CThis book is in the series, "Thinkers of the
Past," from Mysl' Publishing House, Moscow.
Edition: 60,000 copies. Retail price: 25 kopecks
(about 30 cents ) .} - James W, Toppin
THE POLITICS OF PROVOCATION
By Helmut Klumpsan
(Abstract of DIE POLITIK DER PROVOKATION: HENRY
DAVID THOREAU. Frankfurt: Peter Lanz, 1984. 360pp.
Originally a 1980 Ph.D. dissertation at the Univ-
ersity of Bochun, Germany).
Starting from a genetic point of view - rather
than from the systematic approach applied by the
doctoral dissertations of EVANS and MCKAY - this
study tries to shed more light on the perplexing
changes in Thoreau's attitude towards politics.
Among the different cultural, psychological,
historical, and situational factors which influenc-
ed Thoreau's oscillation between a quietist atti-
tude (young man Thoreau's withdrawal from the "dirt"
of politics as well as his final detachment from
Civil War) and an activistic attitude (moving from
civil disobedience to the radical apology of rev-
olutionary violence), attention is specially given
to religious influences and to the condition of
As in previous studies, which have stressed the
close relationship between the psychological situ-
ation of Thoreau and religious influences, this
study also points out the close connection between
Thoreau's quietist attitude and the impact of New
England transcendentalism (and quakerism). Unlike
the previous studies, however, the cause of
Thoreau's activistic attitude are not reduced to
the influence of Puritanism. Instead, it is shown
that the relationship is much more complex. This
is true, too, for the relationship between Thoreau' s
quietist attitude and his mysticism. Though his
quietism has its basis in the actualization of his
great mystic abilities, it would be a distorting
over-simplification to name Thoreau a mystic with-
out making major qualifications.
Instead of regarding Thoreau's life-long oscilla-
tion between a quietist and an activistic attitude
as basically a repeated change between transcen-
dentalist and a puritan approach toward life, this
study tries to demonstrate that it was the oscilla-
tion between "mysticism" and "gnosticism" which
formed the basis of Thoreau's changing attitude
toward politics. In this context, the term "gnos-
ticism" signifies a mode of consciousness which
tries to replace the uncertainty of the Christian
belief (or the purely transcendental enlightenment
of the mystic) with the i mmanent certainty obtain-
ed through GNOSIS (i.e. ultimate ontological know-
ledge which allegedly enables man to effect by
himself the salvation from the deficiencies of the
human condition). Following Eric VOEGELINs studies
on the political consequences of a gnostic mode of
consciousness (particularly a case study of revo-
lutionary Puritanism) , this study goes on to show
that in Thoreau's case the shifting from a mystic
towards a gnostic mode of consciousness resulted
in the revolutionary activism of his later years.
The causes of this shift in his mode of (conscious-
ness, are traced back to both psychological fac-
tors (especially to the unbearably long period of
his "inner winter" of fading intuitional power)
and to the influences of the gnostic world-view
contained in the Puritan interpretation of
The stress laid on the consideration of factors
of consciousness, together with the genetic
approach of the study, will help, it is hoped, to
eliminate two persisting faulty judgements on
Thoreau's attitude towards politics: l st ly, that
his political zigzag was merely a response to out-
er stimuli, and 2 n< lly, that his contradictory
statements on politics are proof of his inability
to write the stringent political theory he
(allegedly) had tried to achieve.
Though Thoreau's attitude toward politics under-
went extreme changes during his short public life
as a writer, there is nevertheless a continuity in
all of these changes: the common denominator is
the "broken" relationship with politics of the
radical idealist who is not willing to compromise
his perfectionist standards with the imperfect
reality of political life, and who, therefore, as
Max WEBER pointed out, does not possess the voca-
tion for politcs.
THOREAU IN THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE , 1977-1983
by Robin S, McDowell
While Henry David Thoreau is one of the most
quotable, and most quoted, American writers, it
is less often realized that he is also cited
occasionally in the current literature of science.
A previous article in the Bulletin (No. 143
(Spring 1978), p. 2) summarized those instances
in which Thoreau's observations or conclusions
on natural history had been considered pertinent
by scientific authors during the period 1964-
1976. Here this list is updated through 1983.
During these last seven years Thoreau was cited
30 times, or over four times per year, which com-
pares favorably with 8.2 times per year for the
average working scientist. The more interesting
citations are discussed below. For consistency,
all page numbers refer to the 1906 Walden edition
of Thoreau's Writings , even though the authors may
have used some other source (or, in some cases,
failed to give detailed references).
1. C.G. Lormier, "The Presettlement Forest and
Natural Disturbance Cycle of Northeastern Maine,"
Ecology 58 (1977, 139-148, mentions Thoreau's
observation of the dominance of spruce and fir in
virgin forests of northern Maine: The Maine Woods ,
Appendices I, III.
2. P. Del Tredici, "The Buried Seeds of Compto-
nia peregrina , the Sweet Fern" Bulletin of the
Torrey Botanical Club 104 (1977, 270-275, cites
the Journal 14: 162 (22 Oct. 1860) on the sweet
ferm, a "pioneer" species whose seeds can persist
in the soil for many years until uncovered by a
disturbance such as a railroad cut.
3. H.I. Baldwin, "The Induced Timberline of
Mount Monadnock, N.H.," Bulletin of the Torrey
Botanical Club 104 (1977), 324-333, mentions
Thoreau's observations of the flora of this peak
during his vists there, as recorded in the Journal
(4:342-347, 10:452-480, 14:8-52; Sept. 1852, June
1858, Aug. 1860).
4. J.W. Jorgenson, M. Novotny, M. Carmack, G.B.
Copland, S.R. Wilson, S. Katona, and W.K. Whitten,
"Chemical Scent Constituents in the Urine of the
Red Fox ( Vulpes vulpes L. )"Durinp the Winter Sea-
son," Science 199 (1978), 796-798, quote Thoreau's
description of the trail of a red fox on fresh
snow, Journal l:185f. (30 Jan. 1841); cf. also
Excursions . p. 117.
5. H. Caswell, "Predator-Mediated Coexistence:
A Non-Equilibrium Model," American Naturalist 112
(1978), 127-154, credits Thoreau, in "The Succes-
sion of Forest Trees" tEighth Annual Report of the
Secretary of the Mass. Board of Agriculture :
Excursions , pp. 184-204), as the first to emphasize
the importance of dispersal in plant succession.
6. M.J. McDonnell, "The Flora of Plum Island,
Essex County, Massachusetts," New Hampshire Agri-
cultural Experiment Station Bulletin 513 (1979),
1-110, quotes (on p. 13) Thoreau's description of
Plum Island in 1839: Week , p. 210.
7. N. Mrosovsky and C.L. Yntema, "Temperature
Dependence of Sexual Differentiation in Sea
Turtles: Implications for Conservation Practices,"
Biological Conservation 18 (1980), 271-280, end
their paper with a quotation from the Journal
7:28f. (9 Sept. 1854) on the earth hatching and
"mothering" turtle eggs.
8. H.F, Hemond , "Biogeochemistry of Thoreau's
Bog, Concord, Massachusetts," Ecological Mono -
graphs 50 (1980), 507-526, examines the bog ilhat
Thoreau knew as Gowing ' s Swamp ( Journal 6:467f
10:196f., 271f., 13:124f.; 23 Aug. 1854, 23 Nov!
1857, 1 Feb. 1858, and 3 Feb. 1860). From Thoreau's
description the changes in plant species over 120
years can be determined, and his measurement of
the central pool provides an estimate of the rate
of advance of the sphagnum mat. The paper opens
with a quotation from the Journal 9:44 (30 Aug.
1856): "Consider how remote and novel that swamp.
... In it grow. . .plants which scarcely a citizen
of Concord ever sees. It would be as novel to them
to stand there as in a conservatory, or in Green-
9. L.C. Hempel, "The Original Blueprint for a
Solar America" Environnent 24i> no. 2 (March 1982),
25-32, discusses in some detail J.A. Etzler's The
Paradise wi thin the Reach of All Ten (2nd English
ed«, 1842) and Thoreau's crmtique~ ,r Paradise (to be)
Regained" ( The Democratic •Review , ; Cape Cod and
Miscel lanies , pp. 2150-105 ) . "We have learned be-
latedly some of the energy-and-ecology lessons
urged on us by Thoreau. ...If Thoreau can be fault-
ed for an overly cautious attitude toward the de-
velopment of renewable energy sources, it is only
because he was unaware of the more sinister envi-
ronmental threats waiting to be introduced with
the rapid development of fossil fuels and nuclear
power . "
10. J.C. Scott, "Flow Beneath a Stagnant Film on
Water: the Reynolds Ridge," Journal of Fluid
Mechanics 116 (1982), 283-296, cites Thoreau's ob-
servation of this effect in his Journal £6:326f.;
10:256, ll:408f.; cf. TSB 123 (1973), 4, and 143
(1978), 2 .
11. J.W. Ropes, "The Atlantic Coast Surf Clam
Marine Fisheries Review 44, no. 8 (Aug. 1982), 1-
14, refers to Cape Cod on the use of surf clams
for food in New England (Thoreau's sea clam or hen,
Mactra solidissima, pp. 7 2 f . , 85f., 94f.).
12. S.F. Barstow, "The Ecology of Langmuir Cir-
culation: A Review," Marine Environmental
Research 9 (1983), 211-236, credits Thoreau with
first recognizing that windrows on the ocean sur-
face caused by cellular circulation patterns are
aligned with the wind direction ( Cape Cod ), p. 120).
Since the Science Citation Index has recently
extended its coverage back to 1955, we can now
summarize approximately 60 references to Thoreau
that have been made over the past 29 years. About
20 of these were "substantive" citations, in that
specific observations or conclusions of his were
mentioned in scientific and natural history per-
iodicals, including eight references to the
Journal and four each to Cape Cod and "The Succes-
sion of Forest Trees." Citations of Walden were
most frequent (24 times), but only two of these
were substantive in the above sense, the others
being quotations of aphorisms. Interestingly, the
literary use of Walden has declined recently in
medical and psychological articles, but has picked
up somewhat in the pure sciences and natural his-
tory. A perhaps more important trend is a decided
increase over the past few years in the use of
material from the Journal in the scientific
THOREAU SENTENCE PATTERNS IMITATED
by Ramond Gozzi
"I went to the woods because I wished to live
deliberately" — so begins an oft-quoted paragraph
of "Where I Lived, and What I Lived for," the
second chapter of Walden . Several imitations of
the sentence patterns of this paragraph, along
with Thoreau's paragraph itself, appear in Ebbitt
and Ebbitt, Writer's Guide and Index to English ,
(1982), 237-8. Adroitly written by students, these
imitations should bring smiles to the faces of un-
solemn Thoreauvians . Here are two of the imita-
Wh y I Took This Course
I took this course because I wished to write
deliberately, to use only essential words and
phrases, and see if I could not learn to express
myself better, and not, when I came to graduate,
discover that I could not write well. I did not
want to fail the course, my grade point average is
so dear; nor did I wish to drop the course, unless
it was quite necessary. I longed to write brilliart-
ly and turn out the best possible essays, to write
so perfectly as to put an end to all of the correc-
tions on my papers, to cut out unnecessary words
and produce clear prose, to try to bring my writing
ability I possessed into the open, and expose it to
criticism, and, if I proved to be a poor writer,
why then at least I would have tried, and I would
have no misconceptions about my skills, and if my
writing were satisfactory, to gain confidence
through my course experience, and be able to give
an even better account of myself in my next English
class. But many members of the class, it appears to
me, are in a strange uncertainty about the course
and its goals, whether it has been of benefit to
them or not, and have somewhat hastily concluded
that the chief purpose of the course is to "glorify
Thoreau and enjoy him forever, whether you like
it or not!"
What I Grew and Why I Grew It
I cultivated my beard to assert my independence,
to show my family and friends that not only was I
master of my own cheeks and chin, but of my life
as well, and not, as they had thought, merely to
enhance my appearance by natural cosmetic. I did
not wish to hide my natural features, for I usually
don't fret about things that aren't my fault or
cannot be effectively changed; nor did I wish to
sow the seeds of family discord for a few paltry
hairs. I wanted to say to my parents at all times
without having to talk incessantly, that I would
not necessarily be molded by commonly held notions
of respectability, that I would not necessarily
marry respectably, if at all, get a respectable
job, or live the proper life; but if I did, all
would know that it was by my own hand, of my own
mind, and for my own reasons; and if I didn't it
would also be of my own choice and no reflection
on them. I would not require nor owe apologies. Few
men and fewer women know why they grow their beards;
or if they know, they grow them for the wrong rea-
sons: appearance, rebellion, prospective employment
in a circus or just a lack of concern for looks
and hygiene. My beard was a subtle declaration that
was either misinterpreted or ignored altogether.
Now my mustache is another story.
THE 1985 THOREAU SOCIETY ANNUAL MEETING.
The 1985 annual meeting was held on Sat-
urday July 13, 1985, at the First Parish
■ hurch in ''onrord, Mass., with Prof. Fred-
erick Wagner of Hamilton College presiding.
The secretary's minutes of the 1984 annual
meeting were adopted as printed in the Sum-
mer, 1984, bulletin. The treasurer, Mary
Anderson, submitted the following financial
report for the year 1984-5 and the budget
Income 1984-5 1985-6
Shops & sales 19,216
Interest, &c . 2,485
Wages &c $25,389
An. Meeting 115
Thus for the second year in a row the so-
ciety operated at a loss of approximately
$2,000. The treasurer's report was ac-
The nominating committee (Ray Angelo,
Parker tluber, Edmund Schfield, and Linda
Beaulieu — chairman) submitted the follow-
ing report: For president, Frederick Wag-
ner; president-elect, Michael Meyer; chair-
man of the executive committee, John clymer;
program chairman, Marian Wheeler; Treasurer,
Mary Anderson; secretary, Walter Harding;
nominating committee: Esther Almgren, Parker
Huber, and Edmund Schfield — all for terms of
one year; and members of the board of di-
rectors for three years: Esther Almgren and
Raymond Borst. The report was accepted and
the slate duly elected.
A motion to raise the life membership, ef
fective immediately, to $500 was unanimous-
A report of the Lyceum was given by the
curator Anne McGrath (see below).
Kevin Van Anglen, reporting for the Tho-
reau Edition, said that the volume of Tho-
reau's Translations will be published in
the Spring of 1986, as will a paperback ed-
ition of A Week .
Joel Myerson and Michael Meyer reported
that our society will sponsor two sessions
at the Modern Language Association conven-
tion in Chicago in December, one on the
teaching of Walden and one on the Trans-
cendentalists and Self-culture.
Patience Hosmer MacPherson read memorial
tributes to ;^eqinald Lansing cook, Henry
Beetle Hough, and Robert Francis Needham;
and Jack Schwartzman to Leonard Kleinfeld.
For further details of the meeting see
the announcement in the spring bulletin.
We are indebted to the following for assis-
tance in making the meeting the success it
was — the largest meeting in some years: Mary
and William Anderson, Esther Almgren, Sue
Altschuler, Margaret Brace. Sharon Crawford,
Malcolm Ferguson, Priscilla Ferguson, Persis
Green, Barbara and Linda Henning, Sylvia
Klinck, Laurie Lundeen, Susan Minor, Eliza-
beth Morris, Anne McGrath, Brad Parker, Mary
Walker, Marian Wheeler, Russell Wheeler, and
REPORT OF THE THOREAU LYCEUM by Anne McGrath
When the Thoreau Foundation was formed in
1966 it was because the founders thought that
there should be a Thoreau Center in the town
where the Concord author was born, lived,
wrote, and died. As time passed, it became
apparent that what visitors were looking
for was information, not only about the
man, but about his life, his family, his
friends and his works. Gradually a re-
search library and a book shop were added
to the Lyce'um and before long, schools
and colleges were making appointments to
brinq classes here not just for an outing
but to learn. The Lyceum has become a true
"gathering of scholars."
Among the annual offerings are, first, a
Thoreau course for all the second grades in
the public schools of concord--approxima te-
ly 160 children. This is a structured
course originally planned in cooperation
with the Resource center of the concord
School system. It begins with an intro-
duction of Henry Thoreau by the Curator
to the children at the Lyceum, continues
in the fields and woods of i oncord with our
staff naturalist. Finally in the classrooms
the teachers carry on with units on jour-
nal keeping, surveying, pencil making--all
Thoreauvian activities which help to delin-
eate the man as someone worth knowing.
Each summer for the past nineteen years
Walter Harding has led a graduate seminar
in oncord and for the most recent years it
has met at the Lyceum. Our library, small
though it is, serves, I think, as an adjunct
to the concord Free Public Library and now
contains a fine collection of graduate the-
ses and the Bernstein collection of literary
scrapbooks. Dr. Harding's course has served
over :30Q - teachers in colleges and high
For the general public the Lyceum offers a
lecture series in both the spring and the
fall, six evenings in all. These talks are
given by writers, teachers, and scholars,
frequently from faraway colleges and univer-
sities who speak at the Lyceum without pay
because this is the only Thoreau Center of
its kind in the world.
The naturalists of the area are not for-
gotten, because the spring and fall series
of walks to Thoreau' s favorite haunts have
become a tradition largely because of
their leader, Mary Mcciintock.
In addition to the above activities, the
Lyceum staff is busy throughout the year
doing research, tracking down quotations
for periodicals, sending information to in-
quirers, mailing booklists. During the past
10 months the Curator and the Director of
Orchard House (home of the Alcotts) have
joined forces to lead a seminar on '"oncord
Authors for teachers from independent schools
all over the country, to originate and pre-
sent a two-part introduction on the same
subject for junior English classes at Con-
cord-Carlisle High School, to prepare and
carry out a pilot program on the anti-
slavery movement in concord for three 8th
grades and next week will participate as
leaders in a Concord Teacher Institute in
preparation for an in-depth study of Concord
history connected with Concord's 350th An-
niversary in September.
We belong to a committee of heads of
houses of the various literary and historic
places in ''oncord and cooperate in various
projects including Open House Programs for
oncord citizens and an on-goinq search for
a solution of where to have a proper visi-
tor center in Goncord .
The current exhibit at the Lyceum is on
Cape r 'od as Thoreau saw it, shown in beau-
tiful photographs by Stephen L. Thomas in
contrast with the black and white pictures
of Herbert W. Gleason, plus books from the
'"ape r od collection of Kenneth Harber. We
invite you all to see it.
IN MEMORIUM . . .
HENRY BEETLE HOUGH . . .
As a past president of the Thoreau Socie-
ty, we were fortunate to benefit from his
shy, but humorous poetic expression and
encyclopedic information ranging from the
local gentry to the blades of grass on the
dunes on the island of Martha's Vineyard
where he owned and published the VINEYARD
GAZETTE for over 65 years. In 1918 with a
fellow student he wrote a paper that won a
special Pulitzer Prize. He served in the
Naval Reserve for a spell, only to return
to his beloved island. His knowledge of
plants and birdlife was voluminous. At
44 years of age his first book was published,
beginning a second career. He was prolific
as a writer of novels, history, children's
books, nature books and biographies, includ-
ing a popular one on Thoreau. His generosity
in giving a hundred acres to a preserve
that will forever be free of incursions,
and his written words remaining, leave us
the richer. — Patience Hosmer MacPherson
REGINALD LANSING COOK . . .
Reginald L. cook was another of the Tho-
reau Society's distinguished presidents. He
was professor emeritus of American litera-
ture at Middlebury rollege, a forty-year as-
sociation. A close friend and neighbor of
Robert Frost, he wrote two books on the poet
as well as two on Thoreau — THE CONCORD SAUNT-
ERER and PASSAGE TO WALDEN.
Not only was he a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford,
bat served later on the Rhodes Scholarship
"ommittee for New England. Through his
teaching and lectures, the respect and loyal-
ty of his pupils made him a popular profes-
sor, with potential writers making their mark,
One of his students here today told me he
never repeated the same lecture, reading
each book anew before his review of his lec-
As a much younger woman, sitting silently
in a corner of my livingroom, I listened in
awe to a scientist, a naturalist, and he
the scholar predicting the long range future
of the hemisphere — a never forgotten ex-
perience. Many of their predictions have
become too real. Such is the truth of learn-
rf mrn. --Pa tience Hosmer MacPherson.
ROBERT FRANCIS NEEDHAM . . .
Robert Francis Needham, a resident of
roncord for thirty-five years, was a life
member and for some years the vice-president
of the Thoreau Society. Chairman and/or
president of many historical societies
throughout the state, as well as a member
and office holder in the town of Concord's
several historical societies, he served
the community in every capacity on vari-
ous committees. He also wrote at least
two history books.
•\ deacon of this First Parish r 'hurch,
he served as treasurer and collector for
many years. His dry wit, multiple contri-
butions, and selfless interests throughout
his lifetime made an impressionable friend
forever. — Patience Hosmer MacPherson.
LEONARD F. KLEINFELD
I am here to speak of Leonard F. Klein-
feld, a one-time president of the Thoreau
Society. He was born on the East Side of
New York City in 1899. He died in the Bor-
ough of Queens on April 15, 1985. Between
those two dates, he lived a full and rich
life as a world traveler, a cosmic thinker,
a poetic writer, and as a wonderful human
For forty years, he was my dear friend,
my philosophic colleague, my worthy co-edi-
tor, my esteemed fellow-Thoreauvian. Un-
fortunately, I did not see much of him to-
ward the end of his life. Three weeks be-
fore he died, I visited him in the hospital.
It was a short but moving visit. It brought
back nostalgic memories of a man who was
truly a unique individual. As he himself
termed it, he lived "in the shadow of Tho-
reau," but, as I term it, he lived in the
sunlight of wisdom.
He was a self-schooled, hard-working man
who managed to become a successful export-
import dealer. I use the term "successful"
as Leonard would use it: as an adjective
signifying inward satisfaction. Leonard's
occupation gave him the opportunity to
travel to every nook and cranny of the earth
and to mingle with all kinds of people, who
loved him and became his life-lone friends.
His basic belief was in the harmony of
Nature and the divinity of Man. More than
twenty years ago, in an article in FRAGMENTS
he declared :
"I never heard... in Nature any notes that
were not harmonious, melodious, or tuneful..
"On a trip to Bear Mountain... I wanted to
see the surroundings from the viewpoint of
the waterfall. The gurgling, pulsating
sheet of water falling into a pond below
reflected the entire spectrum of rainbow
colors in much the same way as does Niagara.
"I remember reaching the summit of a Maine
mountain, and spending the night aloft. In
the distance, the sounds of bullfrogs, the
cawing of crows, the shrilling of red-tailed
hawks, just before the evening tide engulfed
me, made me decide that melody was akind to
silence — a help to abstraction.
"On a lake in Columbia, in South America...
I saw the arching fish play beyond the
reach of hooks.
"In the wilds of Surinam, ... the countless
parrots screeched, the water lilies pre-
sented a sight of beauty impossible to de-
scrobe. . .
"On one of the islands of the Netherlands
Antilles, I watched a flotsam of fishing
boats and ocean streamers. . .The feeling of
ecstasy was sweeter than sugar to the mental
palate. . .
"On the crest of Monserrat in Bogota,... I
watched the streets of the world below, feel-
ing like a Heavenly Peeping Tom. . .
"And then there were times when I had to
walk alone, for fear that companions would
talk of topics mundane."
Leonard Kleinfeld was eighteen when he
first read WALDEN. It became his "bedside
bible." "I learned," he said, "that under-
standing comes through education, not fear;
that one of man's noblest assets is his in-
tegrity. Thus, I never lived a life of quiet
His introduction to Thoreau turned Leonard
away from a budding stage career. A 1919 vis
it to Walden Pond made him a Thoreauvian for
My friendship with Leonard continued for
four decades. One incident sheds light upon
our friendship. I managed, by an exciting
stroke of luck, to find the famed Ricketson
bas-relief of Thoreau in a bookstore on LonS
Island. I was prepared to purchase this
piece when Leonard asked me if I would mind
relinquishing my "claim" and let him make
the purchase instead. I agreed, and Leonard
bought this precious work of art. As if
that were not enough, he asked me to appear
as his "ambassador" and present the bas-re-
lief as a gift to the Thoreau Lyceum. Again
I agreed. I made the formal presentation —
and the masterpiece now proudly resides in
its permanent home in the Thoreau Lyceum.
What greater proof of friendship can a man
show than to give up a Ricketson for a
A great joy for Leonard, as he so often
mentioned, was the launching of FRAGMENTS
magazine. However, that feeling of exulta-
tion was exceeded by what he called again
"the greatest thrill" of his life, his elec-
tion to the presidency of the Thoreau Socie-
ty. "I shall never," he vowed, "forget the
feeling." It was the proudest moment of his
life. I was present when he delivered his
presidential address — and I can still see
the tears in his eyes when he finished his
ADDITIONS TO THE THOREAU BIBLIOGRAPHY. . ,WH
Bajakian, Kyle. "At Walden Pond Activist
Vows to Continue to Push to Ban Swimming."
CONCORD JOURNAL. July 4, 1985. On Mary
"Walden Pond Bank Restoration Slated
in Fall." CONCORD JOURNAL. July 11, 1985.
Rosalie M. Baum. "Thoreau* s Concept of the
Wild." CONCORD SAUNTERER [CS], 17 (Dec.
Black, David. "Walking the Cape." HARPER'S,
270 (June, 1985), 49-54. In Thoreau 's
Blanding, Thomas. "Beans, Baked and Half-
Baked 14," CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 44-50.
. "The Concord Saunterer: An Index."
CS, 18 (April, 1985), 1-50.
. "Edmund Quincy Sewall, Jr., Henry
Thoreau's 'Pure Uncompromising Spirit,'"
CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 1-3.
"Thoreau's Local Lectures in 1849
and 1850." CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 21-26.
Bonner, Willard H. HARP ON THE SHORE: THO-
REAU & THE SEA. Completed and Edited by
George R. Levine. Albany: State University
of New York Press, 1985. 129pp. $9.95,
paper; $29.50, cloth. The late Willard
Bonner loved both the sea and Thoreau.
This volume has been completed posthumous-
ly by his friend George Levine. Although
this is a thoroughly researched book, the
sea was usually only poriferal to Thoreau's
major interests. As he himself once said,
he got' little salted by the sea. In fact
so little was he acquainted with it that
he was a grown man before he realized that
seals were common along the Massachusetts
coast. He never took anything greater
than short coastal trips by boat, never
longer than overnight, never more than
briefly out of sight of land, and got death-
ly seasick nearly every time he got into a
boat. By going through all of Thoreau's
works with a fine-toothed comb, Mr. Bonner
was able to accumulate an amazing number
of references to the sea, but they are only
a tiny fraction of Thoreau's writing and
rarely really central to it. It is a strik-
ing example of riding a scholarly hobby horse
but tells us comparatively little about
The Same. Review. SUNY RESEARCH.
BOSTON GLOBE. "On Walden Pond." March 23,
Brown, Stuart C. "Henry David Thoreau Wrote
Words to Live by." DAILY MAIL (Williams-
port ?, Pa.) July 11, 1985.
Botsford, Audrey. "Thoreau Delight: Artist
Tony Foster Celebrates Thoreau's Woods in
Watercolor." APPALACHIA, 51 (July, 1985),
Bush, Sargent Jr. "The Ends and Means in
WALDEN: Thoreau's Use of the Catechism."
ESQ, 31 (1985), 1-10.
Coakley, Michael. "Tourists Make Waves at
Walden Pond." CHICAGO TRIBUNE. April
Dodson, James. "The Man Who Found Thoreau."
YANKEE, 49 (May, 1985), 62-65, 116-123.
On Roland Robbins.
Dean, Bradley. "Thoreau and Michael Flan-
nery, " CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 27-33.
Duban, James. "Thoreau, Garrison and Dy-
mond." AMER. LIT., 57 (May, 1985), 309-
317. Influences on "Civil Disobedience."
Egan, Kenneth V. Jr., "Thoreau's Pastoral
Vision in 'Walking.'" ATQ, 57 (July, 1985)
ECONOMIST. "Walden Revisited." March 30,
1985. Parody of WALDEN.
Emerson, Edward Waldo. HENRY THOREAU AS
REMEMBERED BY A YOUNG FRIEND. Review.
NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. July
Farce, Giles. "Different Drummers: Thomas
Merton and Henry Thoreau." MERTON FESTIVAL
OF BELLARMINE COLLEGE, 10 (Spring, 1985),
Ferguson, Malcolm. "Joyce Carol Oates Ad-
dresses 44th Annual Thoreau Society Meet-
ing." CONCORD JOURNAL. July 18, 1985.
Fisher, Susan. "State Will Repair Banks
of Walden." CONCORD JOURNAL. June 6,
1985. Experimenting with stone enbank-
ments for the pond.
Fleck, Richard. "The Evil of Nature or
.thfi^Nafcure of Evil in Thoreau's MAINE
WOODS', * AMER. NOTES & QUERIES, 23 (Jan.
Foster, Tony. THOREAU'S COUNTRY: A VISUAL
DIARY. New Haven: Yale Center for Brit-
ish Art, 1985. 4pp. Catalog of exhibit.
. Review. NEW YORK TIMES. May 19,
Gollin, Rita K. & James B. Scholes. THO-
REAU AMONG OTHERS: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF
WALTER HARDING. Geneseo : State University
College, 1983. 125pp. Essays by various
authors on Thoreau's relations with his con-
temporaries, delivered at a 1982 conference.
Grove, Lloyd. "At Walden Breezes, Waiting
for Thoreau." WASHINGTON POST. July 9,
1985. Residents of Walden trailer park
take out their frustrations on Thoreau.
Heberlein, Larry. "Thoreau at a Party,"
SOUTH DAKOTA REVIEW, 22 (Winter, 1984),
61-62. A poem.
Hoag, Ronald Wesley. "A 'Life without
Principle' Manuscript Fragment: What to
Make of a Diminished Thing?" ESSAYS IN
LITERATURE, 12 (Spring, 1985), 139-144.
Holahan, David. "What Would Thoreau Think
Now?" BOSTON GLOBE. July 4, 1985. Also
Holden, Stephen. "Music: 'Walden,' by
Choset." NEW YORK TIMES. June 3, 1985.
Review of a new oratorio based on WALDEN.
Hornblower, Margot. "A Growing Tide of
Tourists Roils WALB§n Pond." WASHINGTON
POST. March 20, 1985.
Johnson, Li nek. "More on Thoreau's A WEEK
ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS and
Margaret Fuller's 'Good Week.'" CS, 17
(Dec. 1984), 17-20.
Kostoff, Leslie. NOTES ON WALDEN. Toronto:
Forum House, 1968. 98pp. A "trot."
Lebeaux, Richard. THOREAU'S SEASONS. Re-
views: AMER. LIT., May, 1985; TIMES LIT-
ERARY SUPPLEMENT, June 14, 1985.
Loring, Susan F. "Reminiscences of Concord"
CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 12-17.
Lutyens, Elizabeth. CONCORD UNFOLDED.
Concord: Welch Foods, 1985. Folder guide
to Concord with segment on Thoreau.
McKenzie, Leisa. "Students Plan Walden Pond
Development." OSU ON CAMPUS. March 14,
1985. Ohio State University landscape
architecture students draw up proposals for
Walden Pond State Reservation.
McLachlin, Mary. "Beer C^ns, Radios & Wal-
den Pond." DAYTONA BEACH NEWS JOURNAL.
March 24, 1985.
Meltzer, Milton. AIN'T GONNA STUDY WAR NO
MORE. New York: Harper & Row, 1985. 282
pp. $12.50. A history for young people
of the peace movement in the United States
over the centuries, with many references to
Thoreau's influence. We found it a fascin-
Middleton, Tom. "140 Years Later at Walden
Pond There's a New House for Henry." CON-
CORD JOURNAL. July 18, 1985. A new repli-
ca of the cabin was dedicated at the pond
parking lot on Thoreau's birthday.
Montgomery, M.R. "Showdown at Walden." BOS-
TON GLOBE. March 25, 1985.
Myerson, Joel. "John Albee and Thoreau."
rs, 17 (Dec. 1984), 33-38.
NEW YORK TIMES. "Dispute at Walden." Mar.
OHIO STATE UNIV. ALUMNI MAG. "On Walden
Pond." May, 1985. pp. 20ff. New landscape
plans for the pond.
Pillai, A.K.B. TRANSCENDENTAL SELF: A COMP-
ARATIVE STUDY OF THOREAU AND THE PSYCHO-
PHILOSOPHY OF HINDUISM AND BUDDHISM. Lan-
ham, Md.: Univ. Press of America, 1985.
116pp. $9, paper; $19.50, cloth. Origi-
nally written as a M.A. thesis at East
Carolina University, this book, as the
author says, is "essentially. . .a work
of comparative literature," comparing
WALPEN with Indian scriptures. WALDEN, is
he says, "the closest to the Yogic sys-
tem of all major American writings." One
should note, however, that this does not
prove that Thoreau derived his ideas from
the Orient, for he, Thoreau, tells us that
he found confirmation of his own ideas
when he discovered the Oriental scriptures.
Although much has been written on Thoreau
and the Orient, Mr. Pillai manages to
escape much of the misty-ness that so many
others have fallen into. His writing is
clear, precise and to the point.
Robinson, Lynda. "Pennsbury's David Barto
Winning Raves of Students by Impersonat-
ing Thoreau." BUCKS COUNTY [Pa.] COURIER
TIMES. March 11, 1985.
Ryan, George. "A Patron Saint for Walden
Pond." BOSTON PILOT. Ap. 5, 1985. Pro-
poses St. 3k. Thomas of Walden, a 15th cen-
tury British saint.
Sandler, Benjamin. "Thoreau, Pulmonary
Tuberculosis and Dietary Deficiency.""
CHEST, 63 (May, 1973), 855-856. Suggests
Thoreau caused his own death by improper
Smith Harmon. "Henry Thoreau and Emerson's
•Noble Youths." CS, 17 (Dec. 1984), 4-
12. Giles Waldo and William Tappan.
Smith, Lorriw. "'Walking* from England to
America: Re-Viewing Thoreau's Romanticism"
NEW ENGLAND QUART., 58 (June, 1985), 221-41
Sullivan, rheryl. "Thoreau Swam in Walden
Pond: But Purists Want Others Barred.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. March 21,1985.
Swanson, Doug. "Walden Purists Fight to
Restore Solitude." CHARLOTTE OBSERVER.
May 26, 1985.
Thomas, Stephen L. "After Thoreau," CAPE
COD COMPASS, 32 (1985), 66-74.
Thoreau, H.D. JOURNAL. Peregrine Smith
edition. Review. LOS ANGELES TIMES. Feb.
24, 1985; SIERRA, March, 1985.
JOURNAL II. Princeton edition. Re-
view. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT. June
"Milton's L'Allegro and II Pensero-
so." MOUNT TOM, I (Dec. 1905), 233-240.
Torsney, Cheryl. "Learning the Language
of the Railroad in WALDEN." ATQ, 55 (Jan.
Urbanski, Marie Olesen. "Thoreau in the
Writing of Louisa May Alcott" in Made-
leine B. Stern, CRITICAL ESSAYS ON LOUISA
MAY ALCOTT. Boston: Hall, 1984. pp. 269-
Vickery, Martha. "A Visit with 'the Pick
& Shovel Historian." PRESERVATION NEWS.
June, 1985. pp.5, 17. Roland Robbins.
Walden Forever Wild. THE WALDEN LOON: A
NATIVE DEPARTED. Concord, . Un-
Yardley, Jonathan. "Ten Books That Shaped
the American Character." AMERICAN HERITAGE
April, 1985. pp. 24-31. WALDEN is No. 1.